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OLYMPIC REVIEW RESULTS11 BEIJING HIGHLIGHTS Carl Lewis, Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina and Finnish runner Paavo Nurmi, but also to exceed the record seven gold medals in one celebration by Spitz in 1972. It seemed as if it was his pre- ordained destiny to achieve this record figure because on several occasions, when it seemed as if Phelps might fail, either he, a team- mate or fate intervened to produce something extraordinary. In the 200m butterfly, his goggles filled with water, causing him not only irritation but also blinding him so that he couldn't see the turns. Instead, he counted his strokes, not an easy thing to do in the frenzy of an Olympic final, which helped him judge when he should be preparing to turn and he eventually came through with victory and, astonishingly, a world record of 1min 52.03 secs. Then, in the 4 x 100m freestyle relay, his team-mate Jason Lezak was a body- length down on Alain Bernard, the world record- holder, at the start of the final length. Lezak said afterwards: " I thought there was no way I would catch Bernard. Then I thought ' This is ridiculous. These are the Olympic Games – you have to go for it.'" When Lezak beat Bernard to the touch, Phelps, his vein- popping body tense, let out a scream of ecstasy at the end of the pool. The eight gold medals were still possible. Even in his penultimate race, the 100m butterfly, Phelps just managed to catch Milorad Cavic, winning by one one- hundredth of a second, as he pushed the finishing pad, whereas the Serbian glided to the side, so delaying the impact on the recording device. Grant Hackett, the Australian double Olympic 1500m champion, summed up the feat of Phelps, declaring: " It can't be described. We will never ever see it again. Everything lined up for him incredibly. He's a nice guy, a good bloke and over the last few years, I have never seen him change." Spitz, whose 1972 victories I witnessed, said before the events began that if Phelps got seven gold medals he would be the second man on the moon, but " if he gets eight, he will be the first man on Mars." When asked if he considered himself the greatest Olympian, Phelps accepted that he was most " decorated" but pointed out that this did not make him the greatest. That was a sensible reply. I was frequently asked in Beijing about his status in history. My feeling is that longevity of excellence is one crucial definition of greatness. Phelps has only won medals in two Olympiads and, at the moment, his feats do not yet exceed, even if they may equal, those of Nurmi and Lewis. However, he may well stand alone if he garners more medals in 2012. What I certainly believe is that Phelps is, by some way, the greatest swimmer of all time. His range of ability, demonstrated by his prowess in the individual medley, is superior to that of Spitz, who essentially was a supreme sprinter in freestyle and butterfly. On the track, Bolt won three sprint gold medals, the 100m, 200m and 4 x 100m relay, being the first to complete this since Lewis in 1984. However, what he also achieved was to set world records in all three, something that no one has ever done at the Olympic Games, not Jesse Owens, Bobby Morrow, Valeriy Borzov nor even Lewis himself. His performance in the 100m was something that no one present will forget. With a third of the race gone, he had the luxury to look right, stretch out his arms and slow down. Yet, he still clocked 9.69 secs. Then he signalled to the crowd, lined up an imaginary bow, releasing a bolt. His 200m time of 19.30 secs was equally remarkable, if only because he cut 0.02 secs off the time of Michael Johnson, set during the 1996 Atlanta Games, a performance revered for its perfection. In the relay, with the US team dropping the baton in the heats, Jamaica had scant opposition. Bolt was able to join forces with his compatriot Asafa Powell, a disappointment to himself and his supporters in the individual 100m when he finished fifth, and Jamaica took the title in 37.10 secs by a margin of 0.96 from Trinidad and Tobago, the biggest winning margin in the event since the triumph of the celebrated American relay team in 1936. As Powell himself admitted: " Usain is the best ever sprinter and I have said that before." So Bolt fulfilled all the promise that he had displayedas a junior and athletics has a new global star. Much as one delights in his bravado and showmanship, he would be even more widely appreciated if he took a few seconds to console his defeated rivals. Grace in victory should be an essential feature of an Olympic champion. If Bolt was the most glittering star in the athletics galaxy, this does not mean that other competitors did not shine. Kenenisa Bekele, of Ethiopia, also demonstrated his range of running talent by finishing first in both the 5,000 and 10,000m, the first person to achieve this double since another Ethiopian, Miruts Yifter, in 1980, while his compatriot Tirunesh Dibaba duplicated his feat. She finished first in the 5,000m and also the 10,000m, posting 29 mins 54.66 secs, the second fastest time ever by a woman, and five seconds quicker than the time of Emil Zatopek in winning the Olympic men's 10,000m in 1948. Kenya, Ethiopia's perennial rivals in the middle and long- distance events, took the men's 800m, the steeplechase and the marathon as well as the women's 1,500m and also the 800m, through the extraordinarily precocious talent of Pamela Jelimo, ? Left Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt became one of the faces of the Games with three gold medals and three world records on the track Right Kenenisa Bekele completed a stunning 5,000m and 10,000m double TM

who set a world junior record of 1 min 54.87. After the final Jelimo embraced the Kenyan silver-medallist, Janeth Jepkosgei, the world champion, her friend, training partner and the person who had encouraged her to run this event in Beijing. Elsewhere, there was the consummate victory of Yelena Isinbayeva of Russia in the pole vault, climaxed by a world record, 5.05m, the clean sweep by Jamaican entries in the women's 100m and the triumph of the United States in the men's 400m, where they took all three medals as well as the 4 x 400m relay. The biggest disappointment on the track was the injury to Liu Xiang, China's defending 110m hurdles champion, who was forced to pull- out of his showdown with Dayron Robles of Cuba, the new world record- holder, who won the title without difficulty. Phelps may have been supreme in the pool but he has yet to try the 10km open- water competition, introduced for the first time in Beijing and proving the attraction one knew it would be. The men's race was won in a sprint finish with Britain's David Davies by the Dutchman Maarten van der Weijden, who had recovered from leukaemia six years earlier. He said: " When you are in hospital and feeling so much pain and feel so tired, you do not want to feel about the next day or week. You just think about the next hour, It teaches you to be patient… and that was almost the same strategy I chose here to wait for my chance in the pack ( of swimmers)." Van der Weijden was not the only Olympic champion to overcome personal distress for victory in Beijing. So did Matthias Steiner, the German winner of the men's super- heavyweight weightlifting, 13 months after his wife had been killed in a car crash. He carried a picture of Susann onto the rostrum to hold aloft with his gold medal. For China, their Olympic success was built on their familiar excellence in women's weightlifting, diving, where they took seven of the eight gold medals, table tennis, where they won each gold medal available, gymnastics and badminton. In table tennis, Sweden's Jörgen Persson described the Chinese opposition as " The Great Wall" and prominent among their champions was Zhang Yining, who retained her Olympic singles title by defeating Wang Nan, the 2000 Olympic gold medallist. In gymnastics, China won many of the events including the men's and women's team competition. However, their competitors were defeated in the women's combined exercises, when Nastia Liukin, the daughter of Valeri, winner of four medals in the 1988 Olympic competition, and Anna Kotchneva, a world medallist in rhythmic gymnastics, finished first for the United States, the country where her family live. Valeri, recalling a blemish in his routine 20 years earlier which he believes cost him the all- around gold medal, said: " My daughter fixed my mistake this time." Nastia ended with five medals from Beijing. In badminton, Zhang Ning retained her women's singles title by upsetting her compatriot Xie Xingfang, the favourite, in the final. Zhang, 33, had postponed plans for a family after marrying team- mate Yu Yang following Athens and returned to the sport, declaring: " I am not giving my place to any younger player easily. They have to fight for it as I did." However, not all of China's medals came from familiar sources. In fencing, Zhong Man took the men's sabre final after defeating Nicolas Lopez of France, a familiar home of talent in the sport. Zhong had, indeed, been coached by a Frenchman, Christian Bauer, who advised the Chinese competitor to be more aggressive in the latter stages of the event, and it was to Bauer that Zhong dedicated his victory. In archery, Zhang Juanjuan, who was seeded 27th, ended South Korea's 24- year long women's monopoly of the individual competition. She defeated all three Korean entries, including the Athens gold medallist, Park Sung- Hyun, saying: " This medal was won step by step. I prepared for a war." However, the South Koreans still took first place in both the men's and women's team final. The Chinese also won the women's quadruple sculls in rowing, a sport in which they have made immense progress in recent years, after a thrilling encounter with Britain, world champions for the last three years. In the double sculls, the New Zealand identical twins Caroline and Georgina Evers- Swindell retained their title, while the Romanians Georgeta Andrunache and Viorica Susanu took the pairs, giving Andrunache her fifth Olympic rowing gold medal, the same as her compatriot, Elisabeta ? LeftThe volunteers were enthusiastic, diligent and unfailingly cheerful Right Nastia Liukin, whose father is an Olympic medallist, won five gymnastic medals 12OLYMPIC REVIEW RESULTSwww. olympic. org BEIJING HIGHLIGHTS TM